You guys, my heart just can’t handle all of the hurt people have to go through. I hear stories that seem unimaginable about families that have lost children through tragic accidents, miscarriages, genetic disorders, stillborns, and the list goes on. There is so much hurt in the world, it sometimes seems like we can lose all hope. And people have asked me before, what should I say to grieving parents?? And although I can not relate to all of the hurt and loss that people go through, I do know what it’s like to lose a child, and I do know what was so encouraging and helpful for us.
First of all, know that ALL PEOPLE grieve differently. I saw it in my own family. Some people want to talk a lot, some people don’t want to talk at all. Some people want to hide, some people want to be surrounded. Some people grieve longer and some shorter. But here’s what I know to be true for ALL GRIEVING FAMILIES.
1.) Our only hope in grieving is Jesus. Therefore, the first and best thing you can offer up to any grieving parent is PRAYER! It meant the world to us, and we honestly could feel it! It seems quite cliche to say to someone I’m going to pray for you, but until you’ve felt the power of prayer, you appreciate every time you hear it, and you hope they truly mean it. So tell the grieving person or send a note to the person saying you are praying for them….and actually do it! Now, when someone pops into my mind, instead of just dwelling on the situation I immediately ask for Jesus to bring a peace to that persons heart that only He can give. It can be a minute prayer, but bring them to the throne. Usually the Holy Spirit will lay that person on your heart at a moment when they NEED PRAYER. They need strength from Jesus. I can’t tell you the amount of people that woke up in the middle of the night praying for us, and when we found out about it, it was usually when we thought our situation was too much to handle, or we were dealing with a hard time with Jules. You guys, until you go through a circumstance where there seems to be no hope, you can’t even comprehend how the Lord can bring peace. It is unimaginable and seems impossible to others, but Jesus does the impossible. So be their prayer warrior!
7 If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
2.) Be Jesus with skin on. If you know the person well, offer to bring a meal, watch their kids, do their laundry if they need it….be a servant, which is exactly what Jesus was. If it seems like that person doesn’t want visitors, leave a basket on their doorstep or send a gift card in the mail for a pizza place. Find a way to make their life a little easier. Because even though we want time to STOP, truth is….it doesn’t. Life still goes on around us. Stomachs still need to be fed, clothes still need to be washed, and people still need to be taken care of, it’s just that there may not be the capacity to do it. So help fill in that gap.
3.) Let them do the talking. You will find out real soon if the grieving person wants to talk about the situation or if they want to, for just a minute, escape the reality they are in and pretend life is normal. There were so many times I needed friends to come over and not talk a thing about the situation we were in, but just be my friend. Help me take my mind off of it. Make me laugh. If I needed to talk, they were there and were gladly willing to listen, but I never wanted them to make me talk if I didn’t want to. Also, grieving people don’t always want to be the cloud of doom with all eyes on them. They don’t always want to feel pitied or known as, “the person who lost a child.” It can get awkward, and it can make you live in a depressing state when you don’t always want to be there. So treat that person as you always would, but maybe just be around them a bit more so you know what they need!
4.) If you don’t know that person, send an encouraging note or FB message or something. There were so many “strangers” that did random acts of kindness for us, that we were blown away by. People that didn’t even know us that were Jesus to us. And this is when we saw God work. We knew He sent them. So if you think they may think it’s weird, IT’S NOT. It means so much, and it shows how the body of Christ works.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
Truth is, no mourning person feels blessed by their situation, they feel blessed by the comfort they get, from Jesus and from the body of Christ.
Pray for them.
Be there for them.
“The Lord is near to those who are broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18